Philadelphia 76ers: 3 Steps Team Must Take to Build on 2011-12
After barely sneaking into the playoffs, Doug Collins' young squad almost found themselves facing off against the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals. Did you read that correctly? I said the Eastern Conference Finals.
Coming into the playoffs as an eighth seed, they found themselves facing a Derrick Rose-less Bulls and were able to easily toss out the East's top team. Even more impressive, the 76ers pushed the Boston Celtics to seven games.
Next year, many expect the 76ers to take that next step in their development. With a lot of young assets and a top coach, this team has a lot to look forward to. But can they capitalize on a successful season and become even better? A lot depends on their offseason.
For now, here are three steps this team needs to take in order to build on their amazing 2011-2012 NBA season.
Sign a Solid Veteran Center
A glaring need for the 76ers was exposed during their series against the Boston Celtics. Kevin Garnett absolutely had his way with Philly's frontcourt. Spencer Hawes and Elton Brand weren't able to get anything going.
Both will be unrestricted free agents this summer.
While both have had fantastic seasons for Philadelphia, the center spot is the biggest need for them. I foresee the Sixers maintaining the services of Hawes and allowing Brand and his massive contract to walk.
There are numerous options in free agency that Philly should consider. A solid veteran and playoff-savvy center would be the best option for them. They need someone to help mentor youngsters Lavoy Allen and Nikola Vucevic.
A few names like Marcus Camby, Reggie Evans and Kenyon Martin could really do wonders for this young squad. All have seen their fair share of playoff games. Evans, while not extremely dominant, is a game-changer with his hustle and never-say-never attitude.
Draft a Shooter
Fellow Bleacher Report writer Jay Schaeffer hit the nail on the head when he wrote this. Schaeffer pointed out that the 76ers struggled to consistently shoot the three ball all year, despite having plenty of sufficient shooters on the roster.
In the draft, the Sixers probably won't be picking until the mid-first round. Plenty of shooters will be available at that point. The Sixers could pick up Vanderbilt's John Jenkins or might even be lucky enough to pull Austin Rivers on board (although he probably won't fall that far).
If they must, there will be plenty of shooters like Steve Novak, Randy Foye and Marco Bellinelli available in free agency.
Trade Andre Iguodala
Andre Iguodala has been in the city of Brotherly Love since the days of Allen Iverson. Once touted as the next big thing in Philly, Iggy never really measured up to being the franchise player Philadelphia sorely needed.
The time has come to move on from Mr. Iguodala. Named an All-Star this year, there are plenty of teams that are ready and willing to take on Iggy as a solid role player.
The Utah Jazz are the first team that comes to mind. A trade for Al Jefferson and someone else on the Jazz roster would do wonders for the Sixers as well as for the Jazz.
While Iggy is a fan-favorite and loyal teammate, the time has come for Evan Turner and Jrue Holiday to take this team to the next level.